What bit did you find the scariest?
The start of the swim - I had a minor injury around my right shoulder/back/neck the week beforehand but I was overthinking it and was terrified that it would play up and that I wouldn't be able to finish the swim. I focused on making the fear of not completing drive me instead of debilitate me.
What surprised you about the experience?
Throughout my whole year of training and the whole swim itself, surprising myself was a very important and special thing that I focused on! Amongst some other quotes that inspired me to keep training, I had a little note pinned by my bed that read "surprise yourself" and would read it before I went to sleep and as I struggled to get out of bed for all the early trainings. I was constantly trying to surprise myself by beating my times and improving my technique and doing more than I thought was possible of myself. I think surprising yourself is one of the best things you can do.
For the swim itself, because of the weather and tides, I got a much faster time than what I was expecting - I was aiming to get 8.5 hours and I thought that that was an optimistic goal! So I was very surprised by how fast my time was.
What’s been positive about the experience?
The lessons it's taught me - that I am capable of anything. It's been a huge boost of confidence which has spilled over to other aspects of my life. I don't care as much about what my body looks like, I care far more about what it can do. It's helped me reframe obstacles and difficulty as challenges that will make me grow.
What was the most challenging part of your experience?
Training wise, all the time I spent at the pool. Having my job and training at the same place was a blessing but also a curse - I spent almost every day biking to the pool before the sun rose and biking home after it set. I found it challenging to say no to things - deciding to hold back and go home early from parties or not drink because I had training the next morning. And it was hard being so exhausted all the time, especially at the beginning when my body wasn't used to it.
How much you have raised so far?
$2330 – just $170 to reach my target of $2500. So get on there and donate! :) Here’s the link! https://obchampion.everydayhero.com/nz/breannaward
What's next Breanna?
My friend Tess and I are going to cycle around New Zealand later in summer. Then there's the chopper swim in Auckland (20km) and next year I want to run a marathon and get back into surf lifesaving, as well as challenging my mind with learning a language and getting better at guitar. In the next few years I'm planning on studying outdoor instructing, and potentially Paramedicine. As for distance swimming, I don't think I'm quite done yet. Ideas are brewing :)